Sudan: Ceasefire Does Not Work


May 12, 2014:   The latest ceasefire agreement in South Sudan appears to have failed. On May 9 South Sudan president Salva Kiir and rebel leader (and former vice-president) Riek Machar met face to face in Ethiopia and signed a ceasefire agreement.  All combat was to cease within 24 hours. The leaders made the same announcement in January. The fighting did not stop in January and it has not stopped in May. One South Sudan commander said rebels attacked one of his units in Unity state on May 10 th . This was after the ceasefire was scheduled to begin. UN observers in the town of Bentiu (capital of Unity state) reported a post-ceasefire deadline firefight between government and rebel forces and blamed both sides. Fighting in Bentiu continued on May 11. Meanwhile, rebels in Upper Nile state accused government troops of shelling rebel positions with artillery on May 11th.

May 11, 2014: The UN and the World Food Program want the South Sudan government and rebel forces to follow through on promises to permit aid groups to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees and civilians facing starvation. The situation in Upper Nile state is particularly dire with some 125,000 refugees at risk of starving. The government and rebels claimed they agreed to allow food and other aid to move through humanitarian corridors. However, fighting continues. The aid groups say that they do not have the aircraft to fly the food. The food requirements are large and can only be met using truck convoys.

May 9, 2014: South Sudan and the rebels have agreed to implement a ceasefire. The leaders of the government and rebels met face to face in Ethiopia to work it all out. The European Union, the African Union, the U.S. and Ethiopia sponsored the meeting. Government and rebel leaders also discussed holding new elections in 2015. However, they did not discuss creating an interim government.

Meanwhile, South Sudan and rebel group, SSDM/A-CF (South Sudan Democratic Movement/Army-Cobra Faction) finalized their previously announced peace deal. The signing ceremony was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

May 7, 2014:  Rebels in Sudan accused the Sudanese Air Force of bombing a civilian hospital in the Nuba Mountains. Su-25 light bombers and An-24 transports rigged as bombers were seen attacking.

May 6, 2014: Minority tribes in South Sudan are expressing concern about future power-sharing deals between the Dinka and Nuer tribes. There are around 60 minority tribes in the country and they do not want to be marginalized by a Dinka-Nuer agreement to divide government power between the two major tribes.

May 5, 2014: South Sudan signed an agreement with rebels which will permit aid groups to supply refugees with humanitarian aid and provide security for civilians who are planting crops. Meanwhile, heavy clashes between government and rebel forces continued around the town of Bentiu.

May 4, 2014: Sudan diplomats succeeded in derailing a UN Security Council attempt to condemn Sudan’s militia force, the rapid Support Force (RSF). The RSF is what the Sudanese government now calls the notorious Janjaweed militias which savaged Darfur. The RSF is commanded by Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).

South Sudan claimed its forces captured the town of Nasir (Upper Nile state). The government also claimed its forces control the state capital, Bentiu,  A rebel commander in Unity state claimed that Sudanese rebel groups assisted the South Sudan government forces in the attack. The rebels claimed that fighters belonging to the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) participated in the attack on Bentiu.

May 3, 2014: The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS, UN peacekeeping operation in South Sudan) accused South Sudanese rebels of massacring 200 civilians in the town of Bentiu. Rebel forces seized the town in late April.





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